The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students


  • Diversity related title
  • Age Range: Grades 7-high school
  • Author: Suzanne Jurmain
  • Title: The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students.
  • Publisher: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin
  • 2005
  • 150 pages.
  • ISBN: 978-0618-47302-1
  • Awards: An Orbis Pictus Honor Book~ALA Notable Children’s Book~ALA Best Book for Young Adults~Booklist Editor’s Choice~ Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book for 2005~Booklist Top 10 Black History Book for Youth~James Madison Book Award Honor Book~SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Award Winner~Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts~ Once Upon a World Honor Book.
  • Author’s website:

In 1833, when respectable women were expected to be demure and unassuming, Prudence Crandall caused a firestorm of protest and outrage. Her efforts to open a school for African-American girls sent shock-waves through her Connecticut town and the nation.

Jurmain tells an important story that helps fill in the vast gaps between slavery and the civil rights movement. An effective use of historical bullet points early on immerses the reader in the tenor of the times. While extensive research allows a clear picture of the conflict to emerge and there are plenty of direct quotes, the account is padded with supposition about what people likely thought or said.

Front matter includes contents, an acknowledgment and a note to the reader about the use of historic race words. Back matter includes an epilogue that briefly describes African American education from the Civil War to the present, an extensive appendix of facts about Crandall’s students, friends & enemies, notes on sources, an extensive bibliography, photo credits and an index.


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